Helloween - Helloween
Nuclear Blast
Power Metal
14 songs (72:56)
Release year: 2021
Helloween, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Ben
Major event

Since this review is rather late for an album that has been getting press from all over the world, I would like to think that it has a bit more even headed approach. Don't get me wrong here, I am a huge Helloween fanboy and the reunion with Kiske and Hansen was a thing I honestly thought I'd never see in my life. When they did come together, the resulting tour was such a massive hit that the triple disc live album we got out of it (United Alive) was a gift enough in and of itself for all us fans. But wait, there's more! After the hugely successful tour, the reunification squad announced they were going to do an entirely new studio album. Three singers, three guitarists, dusting off old recording consoles, and even using former drummer Ingo's kit, this would be a massive undertaking. Surely this would be a combination of the old and the new, the best of both worlds!

Actually, no, it isn't. This is neither Keepers era Helloween nor is it the nineties grit and swagger of Better Than Raw. This is like a really good 2000's era Helloween album (Rabbit Don't Come Easy and Gambling With The Devil) combined with some Land Of The Free II Gamma Ray and a bit o' Unisonic for good measure. I'm sure to most fans though, the emotional weight of this album will make many scream in orgasmic joy about the "classic sound." But to me, Helloween (the album), manages to stay fairly "modern" with only opener Out For The Glory being a forced attempt to days gone by. The only other track that really feels like something from the past is the monumental and massive Skyfall which really, really, sounds like a lost Gamma Ray tune. There's obvious Space Oddity-isms going on in a middle section there, but overall you sense a very Heading For Tomorrow vibe. Other than those two songs (they do take up almost twenty minutes of play time though), the rest of Helloween is a mixed bag of goods.

I've played Out For The Glory an inordinate about of times because I really want to like this song. But, as mentioned before, this is the only song that feels like a direct attempt to recapture former glories. There's definite I'm Alive and Eagle Fly Free vibes in both the chorus and the guitar solos. Predominantly led by Kiske while having additional vocal stabs by Kai, Out For The Glory really tries to push all the right buttons. And while this isn't a bad song per se, I just don't feel it bringing back my youth. Those days are gone. Fear Of The Fallen is for the most part a superior song. It also slams home the notion that despite the commotion over Kiske and Hansen cumming back, Andi Deris is the voice of Helloween and has been since nineteen ninety fo! As soon as Andi begins singing it feels like a new Helloween. My only real complaint on this one is the kind of awkward part near the end where Andi's belting out, "Listen to ur heart," a few times while there's hardly any instrumentation underneath so it's just really loud and obvious. I know Power Metal is supposed to be uplifting, but man, this is a bit cheesey for me and also I keep expecting EDM drums and a remix of Listen To Your Heart to pop out. RIP Roxette and curse you DHT or Dj Sammy or whoever the fuck. After these couple of mid to lengthy tracks, Best Time comes out with a short three and a half minute romp that is the best (aha!) example of the three singer approach on this album. I repeat, this short little song is the best example of using all three singers, not any of the epics or anthems! How they do this is that each member pretty much has an "assigned" role. Kiske does a verse, Andi does a verse, and Kai is the backup singer whose mic is really loud and he delivers choice lines in each chorus. Musically, this is pretty simple and even has a "bass and drums" verse structure that's been employed many dozens of times. However, the interesting vocal melodies and expertly placed singing elevates this to a much, much higher plane. Mass Pollution brings the speed back and is supposed to be a silly anthem to metal (get it, it's noise pollution?) but it still manages to rock pretty hard. It's in line with tracks such as The Saints or Open Your Life. Robot King looks to be a mini epic and if Out For The Glory was supposed to bring me back to the eighties, well this one actually brings to mind alot of cool moments from Time Of The Oath and Better Than Raw. Midnight Sun meets We Burn with the vibe of Wake Up The Mountain and Revelation. Speedy, gritty, melodic, and a shouting of the title track.

The rest of the tracks other than Skyfall are all above average rockers, Angels being the most experimental. Unfortunately for them though, they are sandwiched between the afore mentioned numbers and the closer (for now) Skyfall. I did not listen to the pre-release single, not one damn note. Anyone who has heard the atrocious, god awful edit of the song Halloween knows that cutting down thirteen minute songs simply does not work. A kinda cringey looking music video cemented this decision of temporary abstinence. I'm glad I saved my load though because the full version is fucking bad ass. Kai Hansen rolled all his ingredients into one monster ass song that just overpowers much of this album. The little intro, Orbit is a HUGE homage to the theme of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind with its feel and vibe. Like, you actually feel like you're in some deserted desert canyon witnessing some wild ass cosmic event. Anyway, the main song is pretty much split into three parts. The intro is a triumphant decree of freedom followed by some late nineties Gamma Ray guitar vibes. The main bulk of part one consists of chunked out riffs with Kiske doing a verse, the triumphant chorus, then Andi does a verse, then another chorus. I can only imagine how badly this was edited on the single release. The following instrumental brings BIG Heading For Tomorrow, the song, vibes. After this is the rather obvious "ground control to Major Tom," moment. This has been noted in many a review! Trust me, Kai fucking knows this sounds like Space Oddity! It's an homage, folks. Then comes an extremely Powerplant section ala Armageddon combined with Beyond The Black Hole harmony guitar- isms. Kai loves to have a chant section and we get one here. After coming back to the glorious chorus, we get a climactic outro that just screams "ending credits." Much like the denouement of a well crafted story, the outro here brings things to a close with a sense of finale and Kai's final words are... "somewhere out in space." I think, I think that's a callback to something. I don't know though. Maybe it's a meaning to like, a movie or something. What could it be? I just don't know.

Funnily enough when I ordered the physical cd, the mp3s available to download include the two bonus tracks from the two disc digipak release. At the risk of sounding ungrateful, this kinda makes me a bit irritated. The main album is sixty five minutes. These two tracks could have been put on the main disc without running out of space. However, they stuck the two bonus tracks, three if you get the Japanese version, onto a seperate disc. 1. Who is going to put on an entire cd to listen to just two songs? Eight whoooooooollllle minutes! 2. Having these two tracks at the end, being obviously tacked on an as afterthought is a disservice to them and the actual album. Golden Times is legitly a good song! This could have been in the middle of the album and been great! Save My Head is a decent rousing rocker and hell, I woulda rather have had that than Cyanide to be honest. I digress, I guess I should be grateful these songs are on my flash drive for the car and on Spotify for the rest of the world. Sucks for those who splurged though.

Helloween has made this fanboy happy. That's the bottom line. I do not though, think that this is some time machine back to glory days of days past. I really do believe alot of people have been swept up by the emotional impact of this reunion. To young people who are full of hope and optimism that the future can be a good one, they probably really like Out For The Glory! But to me, this album just screams 2000's era and up Gamma Ray meets Helloween and that's a good thing. Helloween have shown the absolute utmost of class and professionalism with everything on how they've handled their reunification. Bands from all over should take note of everything they've been doing to keep everyone and everything under control. You think I'm joking, but I'm not! They have said having good management helps.

Killing Songs :
Skyfall, Best Time, Mass Pollution, Robot King, Rise Without Chains
Ben quoted 84 / 100
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Helloween that we have reviewed:
Helloween - Master Of The Rings reviewed by Ben and quoted 73 / 100
Helloween - Better Than Raw reviewed by Ben and quoted 94 / 100
Helloween - United Alive In Madrid reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
Helloween - Straight out of Hell reviewed by Chris and quoted 92 / 100
Helloween - Walls of Jericho reviewed by Olivier and quoted CLASSIC
To see all 23 reviews click here
1 readers voted
Average:
 100
Your quote was: 100.
Change your vote

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Jul 06, 2021 5:28 am
View and Post comments